Potato pie with halloumi cheese and zaatar

September 14, 2010  •  Category:


The longer I stay in Beirut, the more impressed I am with women here and how impeccably groomed they are. In the US, getting one’s hair or nails done was not ย at the top of the list. Here, beauty is serious business.

Take the beauty parlor, for instance: I walk into my 87-year old aunt Wadad’s Coiffeur Michel‘s place, located on the second floor of a once-luxurious, now dusty-old building. In 45 minutes, I will ย be cared for by no less than four people. The first one will shampoo my hair, the second will cut it (this is done by the master Michel himself), the third will blow-dry it and the fourth will prepare my Turkish coffee (to my specs).

For someone used to chain haircut places and speedy, assembly-line type of service, all this attention is a bit exhausting.

But, hey, this is life here in Beirut.

So, after all this grooming, not much time is left for cooking.

If you have some potatoes, olive oil, some halloumi cheese and a dash of zaatar, here is a no-brainer type of dish that will have you licking your fingers.


  • 1 package of halloumi cheese, shredded
  • 2 or 3 potatoes
  • zaatar, to taste (keep in mind, zaatar is already salted)
  • olive oil, as needed


  1. Peel the potatoes and slice; shred the halloumi. Heat a generous amount of olive oil in a skillet. Drop the potatoes and fry gently for 30 minutes or so, until the bottom is crisped; add the cheese slices, sprinkle with zaatar and cover the skillet.
  2. Check after a few minutes to see if the cheese is melted. Place a serving plate over the skillet, drain it of any extra oil and flip it onto the plate. Serve.


42 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Rosa says:

    OMG, that is a heavenly combination! Those are three of my favorite ingredients.



  2. Radhika says:

    I would love to be pampered like this. All I need is to relax .
    Potato pies makes me feel warm. A must have during this autumn.

  3. Lentil Breakdown says:

    What? No one to make these potatoes for you while you get a mani/pedi?

  4. Sarah Galvin (All Our Fingers in the Pie) says:

    Halloumi cheese is actually something I can buy in my little town. Crazy, eh? This sounds wonderful and so easy.

  5. sweffling says:

    I have not come across Zaatar before so had to look it up on the web. I found several different mixes: It seems to change according to which herbs one uses. Is there one particular mix of herbs you would recommend so that I can either make some up or buy one kind? I fancy making this recipe so would really appreciate the info. Many thanks!

    • Joumana says:

      @Sweffling:zaatar in Lebanon is an herb mix that is beloved by everyone and consumed daily; the mix is made up of wild thyme, sumac and sesame seeds, with some salt added to the mix.
      I am including the link from my previous post on zaatar.

  6. myfrenchkitchen says:

    Wonderful!! I won’t get anything done…will just want to continue…and maybe add some massage…and manicure….and pedicure while we’re at it.
    A lovely combination, especially the addition of haloumi.

  7. Rachana says:

    Thats such a delicious combination! Easy to make and yumm!

  8. Joan Nova says:

    Tasty, tasty! Glad you’re enjoying your visit and get treated like royalty.

  9. Krista says:

    How lovely to be so pampered and treated royally. ๐Ÿ™‚ This dish is to die for!! So simple and absolutely delicious. Can’t wait to track down some halloumi cheese. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Gloria says:

    Love potatoes. This look delicious! x gloria

  11. elra says:

    Scrumptious pie, very tasty!

  12. TheKitchenWitch says:

    When I visited Greece, I was introduced to the beauty of halloumi cheese–GOSH is it good. I also love Zaatar, so there’s nothing about this I can’t resist!

  13. Susan says:

    I’m sure you look lovely this evening ๐Ÿ˜‰ What a treat to be pampered in that way. The potato dish is just the perfect end to the day! These sound delicious! I just made pan-fried potatoes last weekend but I’ve always just added onions to the skillet.

  14. SYLVIA says:

    This is one of the ultimate comfort food that also makes a delightful side dish. Melted cheese in any-form is something that everyone loves. The golden brown potatoes are tucked neatly into the bed,. Joumana, I like how you recruit that Lebanese zaatar, and flake it over the potatoes, This recipe will always have a spot on my menu.

  15. Amanda says:

    Thanks Joumana – being of Irish descent, potatoes are very popular in our house. Being very fond of food in general means that Halloumi is also a favourite – now a way to combine the two!!

  16. Sushma Mallya says:

    Wow it looks very delicious…

  17. citronetvanille says:

    le halloumi me fait craquer, et ta petite recette avec les pommes de terre doit รชtre un vrai dรฉlice. He ben dis donc, je vais venir a Beyrouth me faire couper les cheveux. Ca fait du bien de se faire pouponner de temps en temps. Profite!

  18. Cherine says:

    Hehe that’s so true Joumana!! I miss the life in Beirut ๐Ÿ™‚
    The dish is absolutely yummy!! A beautiful combination!

  19. Katerina says:

    This is so easy to make. I love halloumi.

  20. Lorraine @ Not Quite says:

    MMm that looks delicious! And no time for cooking-oh no! But interesting that beauty and grooming is such a priority there ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. joudie kalla says:

    Beirut is synonymous with beauty and salons. It is amazing the treatment they give you when you are there. And all for such a cheap price. Now to this gorgeous comforting dish you have made…. I love it. The stodgyness of the potatoes with melted cheese and the hint of zaatar…. hmmmmmmm, what a mix. YUMM!

  22. Dimah says:

    What a wonderful combination of flavors! It sounds so delicious!

  23. Barbara says:

    While I don’t get served Turkish coffee at my hairdressers, I DO get iced tea! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Can anything beat potatoes and cheesn fried together? It looks wonderful, Joumana!

  24. FOODESSA says:

    Here’s another great reason to get the zataar out of my pantry ;o)

    Joumana…It appears that at the rate you’re going…you may just get to enjoy all this attention way more than going back to the U.S. ?!?
    This reminds me…when was the last time I allowed myself time to get pampered…hmmm? I think the ladies of Beirut are onto to something!

    Have a great day,

  25. Conor @ HoldtheBeef says:

    I am softly swooning at the thought of spending a leisurely afternoon being pampered and then coming home to eat this. I need a haircut, perhaps I should follow in your footsteps. No Turkish coffee at my hair salon, but at least it’s decent plunger coffee and not instant!

  26. sweffling says:

    Thank you for that link. I have now copied all the info. and will seek out the correct Thyme and make up some zaatar of my own. Sounds wonderful.

  27. Tina says:

    I made this last night ! Oh my it was so good!!

  28. grace says:

    i think i might’ve fallen in love with halloumi. this dish looks AMAZING.

  29. A Canadian Foodie says:

    YUM! I love za’atar. Wonderful mix of spices. I am surprised you used halloumi. I love it, but don’t find it soft enough for what this dish might need… maybe if it was really thin. ANd, the beauty thing must be European. It is the same in the former Yugoslavia. The difference is that that gals may have nothing. Absolutely nothing, but will have their hair and nails and one gorgeous outfit – all perfect. It is inspiring. Also, no one there that is young, is fat.

  30. tobias cooks! says:

    I have not been here for a while and you did so much work. I am impressed. Such great dishes.

    All the best

  31. Rajani says:

    definitely going to make this – 3 of my fav. ingredients ๐Ÿ™‚ I didnt think halloumi melts??

    • Joumana says:

      @Rajani: Halloumi does melt a bit; there is a variety of halloumi on sale now in the US (and I am assuming in Dubai) named “Halloumi- for grilling” that melts perfectly, while retaining its shape.

  32. Mathai says:

    This combo of halloum and potato sounds great! must try it soon. ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. Jackie says:

    What a wonderful dish. Great to use this fab cheese from Cyprus.
    If you have never eaten it.. you must give it a try.

  34. OysterCulture says:

    Wow, this potato pie has me swooning, I love halloumi cheese and zaatar, this must be recreated immediately.

  35. Robyn Kalajian says:

    If halloumi cheese is unavailable, what other cheese could be substituted?

  36. Robyn Kalajian says:

    Thanks for the tip on cheeses!

  37. domi says:

    Une galette de tarte aux pommes qui me fait fondre….

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